Extra cooling for farrowing sows
Based on publication in Boerderij, September 27, 2022. Download this article as a PDF.
The temperature in the farrowing section is mainly set to suit piglets, so it’s often too high for farrowing sows. To improve sow comfort, Nooyen Pig Flooring developed a cooled plate that is installed under the sow’s shoulder: the Cool Sow System. If a sow is cooled, she eats better, her body condition and energy levels improve, and as a result she produces more milk.
Cooling system in shoulder plate
The Cool Sow System consists of a cast-iron shoulder plate insert incorporating water pipes. Water cooled to a temperature of 21 ºC flows through the pipes. The system, operated by a control unit, transfers excess heat to well water via a heat exchanger.
The shoulder plate is also fairly easy to install in the supplier’s existing farrowing pens. Farrowing pens from other suppliers have to be examined on a case-by-case basis to determine how the cooled shoulder plate can be incorporated. The advantage of a cooled shoulder plate in free farrowing pens is that the sow continues to seek out its own central lying area, which reduces any risk of crushing for piglets.
An entire farrowing house needs just one control unit and heat exchanger. Since water flows through the pipes continuously, a constant temperature is maintained throughout the house.
Wageningen Livestock Research tested the Cool Sow System. The study revealed that:
- farrowing sows have a higher feed intake and weight loss during the farrowing period is limited (on average 1.5% less weight loss over the whole year and 3.5% less in the summer).
- Thanks to higher milk production, the weight of piglets at weaning is 400 to 500 grams higher.
- The system costs around € 80 per sow place, including pump, pipes and control unit.
- The Cool Sow System consists of a cast-iron shoulder plate with stainless-steel water pipes mounted underneath, through which water at a temperature of 21 º is continuously pumped.
- The shoulder plate insert measures 62×86 cm, and can easily be mounted on an existing farrowing house floor.
- Well water is pumped through the pipes in a sealed circuit. Excess heat is released into the groundwater via a heat exchanger.
- A central control unit controls the system throughout the farrowing house.
- Sows stay cooler, eat better and lose less weight
- Easy to install in existing houses
- Relatively inexpensive
- In existing houses, pipes have to be concealed under the existing floor
- Use in houses of other brands has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis